Children’s TV Hijacked

Allon Lee

Daily Telegraph, July 17, 2007,22049,22084367-5001031,00.html

FIRST there was Farfour – the mouse with the killer attitude. Now meet his cousin, Nahoul, a children’s character with a real sting in his tail.

In May, the world was outraged when Hamas TV aired a children’s show with Farfour, a character similar to Disney’s Mickey Mouse, but spouting words of hate and martyrdom towards Jews.

Disney has always zealously protected its trademarks, but even it decided not to take on Hamas – a terrorist organisation responsible for hundreds of deaths.

Following the worldwide uproar over the perversion of the much-loved childhood cartoon, Farfour was dispatched to the Mickey Mouse club in the sky.

It was an inventive departure for a children’s character. In his last TV appearance, an Israeli security officer beat and kicked Farfour to death.

The show’s young host told viewers Farfour had achieved martyrdom. The mouse had squeaked his last – but with one hell of a roar.

The effectiveness of the Farfour hate campaign on impressionable minds could be seen after his death when three-year-old Shaimaa phoned the show to say “we don’t like Jews because they are dogs. We will fight them”.

To which the young presenter replied: “The Jews are criminals and enemies. We must expel them from our land.”

Now Farfour has been replaced by Nahoul, a man-sized bee with a face remarkably similar to Warner Bros’ Tweety Bird and the same whiney voice as Farfour. He made his debut appearance at the weekend.

Nahoul was not shy about declaring his intentions, which turn out to have much in common with his hate-mongering rodent predecessor.

“I want to continue in the path of Farfour,” the bee, comically suspended from a stage roof at the time, raved.

“The path of Islam, of heroism, of martyrdom, and of the mujahedeen (Islamic fighter) . . . We will take revenge on the enemies of Allah, the killers of the prophets and of the innocent children. . .”

Hamas understands the value of propaganda coups and just last week was crowing to Western audiences over its role as a facilitator for peace by helping to release BBC journalist Alan Johnston, who was held hostage in Gaza for four months.

But Hamas’ Arabic rhetoric for its domestic audiences is still stuck in a mindset of death and destruction. Not for local consumption are any oblique references to a truce or a long-term period of quiet with Israel.

In this, Hamas is perpetuating a long-standing tradition of the Palestinian leadership. They simply decline to prepare their people for the necessary concessions needed for peace.

When the late Yasser Arafat and his secular Fatah organisation was in charge of the Palestinian government, the promotion of hate and violence towards Jews was standard viewing on Palestinian TV.

Before Arafat died, a precursor to Farfour was a talking bird who warned against trusting the Jews and encouraged kids to take up AK-47 rifles to better enable conflict resolution.

In another pre-Farfour show, an adult presenter asked an 11-year-old girl what her choice would be between “peace and full rights for the Palestinian people” or martyrdom. The girl responded that her full rights would be achieved after she achieved martyrdom.

Unlike Fatah, which only wanted to destroy Israel in the name of a secular Palestine, Hamas is fighting a jihadist war for the greater glory of Allah – a fight that doesn’t limit itself to Israel.

Hamas is the terrorist organisation that won control of the Palestinian Authority in the January 2006 elections.

It has consistently refused to recognise Israel and renounce violence. Backed by funds and weaponry from Iran, Hamas last month violently routed Fatah in the Gaza Strip.

According to Hamas TV’s Hazem Al-Sha’arawi – the creator of Farfur and Nahul – “We have a message, and we understood from the beginning that it is a difficult path . . . But we were sure that we had to go this way, because this (young) generation needs someone to direct it and this generation is the most worthy of the position of leadership.”

Regrettably, so long as Palestinians continue to inculcate in their children an ethic of violence and hatred they are damning both Israelis and Palestinians to a lifetime of bloodshed.

Allon Lee is a policy analyst with the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council